In many languages (especially Hebrew in which I work), words can appear in a special form called the construct form in which you can expect that word to be attached to another word. I would like to know that what is the term used for the opposite of a construct form? Meaning, a word which is self-standing and independent, and not attached to another word.

Example: The word צור means rock. The phrase צור החלמיש means chalamish rock, with the word צור appearing in the construct.

If I had the word צור with the modifier, what is that form of the word called?

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    Well, in Hebrew the whole construction is called 'smichut', the modified noun 'nismach', the modifier 'somech'. Sometimes the modified is referred to as 'nomen regens', the modifier as 'nomen rectum'. Aug 17, 2018 at 13:04
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    I don't know anything about Hebrew, but "citation form" might be relevant. Aug 17, 2018 at 22:03

1 Answer 1


In Semitic linguistics it is customary to refer to the "absolute state" and the "construct state", or their Latin equivalents "status absolutus" and "status constructus".

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    It is worth noting that the distinction need not be binary. Aramaic, for instance, also has an emphatic state. (So "opposite" in the question is slightly misleading.)
    – Keelan
    Aug 17, 2018 at 18:37
  • @fdb Is the "definitive" state the same as the "absolute" state in linguistics? Sep 11, 2018 at 20:37

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